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Tractor Supply's Priority Changes


Store front tractor supply

Major changes to diversity efforts, support for LGBTQ communities, and environmental priorities are ahead for Tractor Supply, the Tennessee-based retailer.


The company has more than 2,000 stores nationwide and sells tractor parts, power tools, and animal feed.


Last month, Robby Starbuck, a former Hollywood director who became a conservative activist and social media content creator, urged his half million followers on X (formerly known as Twitter) to shop elsewhere.




Tractor Supply’s actions in recent weeks reflect the decisions that companies must make regarding priorities regarding a variety of cultural, health, and environmental issues.


Anheuser-Busch and Target both faced boycotts. Anheuser-Busch had featured transgender activist and TikTok personality Dylan Mulvaney in advertisements for Bud Light.



Target changed course and limited its Pride Month-themed merchandise in some stores following complaints. Some store employees had faced confrontations from customers because of the Pride merchandise and had to deal with displays knocked down in protest.



Tractor Supply sent out this statement June 27th announcing how the company would change its focus after boycott threats because of its policies.


“We are passionate about being good neighbors in our hometowns because without you, we would not be what we are. It is imperative to us that our customers' hard-earned dollars are taking care of our Team Members and the communities we all love. As you supported us, we have invested millions of dollars in veteran causes, emergency response, animal shelters, state fairs, rodeos and farmers markets. We have also invested in the future of rural America. We are the largest supporter of FFA and have longstanding relationships with 4-H and other educational organizations,” part of that statement read.


The company also announced that it was ending policies that were the focus of right-wing criticism.


“We work hard to live up to our Mission and Values every day and represent the values of the communities and customers we serve. We have heard from customers that we have disappointed them. We have taken this feedback to heart,” the company’s announcement stated.

Here is how Tractor Supply described the shift:


“Going forward, we will ensure our activities and giving tie directly to our business. For instance, this means we will:1. No longer submit data to the Human Rights Campaign2. Refocus our Team Member Engagement Groups on mentoring, networking and supporting the business3. Further focus on rural America priorities including ag education, animal welfare, veteran causes and being a good neighbor and stop sponsoring nonbusiness activities like pride festivals and voting campaigns4. Eliminate DEI roles and retire our current DEI goals while still ensuring a respectful environment5. Withdraw our carbon emission goals and focus on our land and water conservation efforts”

 


Those changes then triggered criticism from a variety of organizations. National Black Farmers Association President John Boyd called on Tractor Supply President Hal Lawton to step down for what he considered a lack of commitment to diversity in the company’s new priorities.


"Tractor Supply has shown with its broken promises that it has little respect for black farmers,” Boyd said in a statement, “As President of the NBFA, I am appalled by this decision, which is reflective of the ongoing racial tension and division in America. This affects our 130,000 members, many of whom regularly shop at Tractor Supply. Having repeatedly attempted to discuss our concerns with Mr. Hal Lawton, I am now calling for his immediate resignation."



The fallout from Tractor Supply’s decisions demonstrates what can happen when a company backs down from policies following criticism and then receives different criticism because of the policy changes.


A Washington Post report included comments from an animal sanctuary in New York that had been a reliable Tractor Supply customer but will now take its business elsewhere. Read that here. 

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